Editor’s comment: Hackney Council election result proves we need a fairer voting system
- Credit: Archant
Fifty-two Labour councillors and five Conservatives will file into the Hackney Council chamber on May 23.
So the Tories must have been Hackney’s second party, right?
Actually, no – the Greens polled more votes than they did, and performed particularly strongly in Dalston (where Alex Armitage came so close a recount was needed).
But for two dozen more ballot papers, the party might have won its first seat since 2006, but there are no shades of grey (or green) in first past the post: you’re in or out.
It’s not that I resent Labour’s success in Hackney: having got to know a number of councillors and the mayor since I started in 2016 I believe the borough is in good hands.
You may also want to watch:
It’s more that the result seems to vindicate the unshakeable tradition of people not voting in local elections: there’s no point going to the polling station, goes the (circular) argument, because my voice won’t be heard.
So what on earth can be done to convince people local elections really are a big deal?
- 1 Hackney surgery named GP Team of the Year
- 2 Campaigners launch legal challenge against Hackney LTNs
- 3 Man wrestled to floor during attempted robbery in Finsbury Park
- 4 Covid fines worth £39K handed out in Hackney and Tower Hamlets
- 5 Hackney ‘poised’ to undertake school closures after drop in pupil numbers
- 6 Stoke Newington School looks to raise £60K for student laptops
- 7 Hackney postal voters urged to reapply after cyber-attack
- 8 Jailed: 'Dangerous' Hackney predator found with 1,600 indecent child images
- 9 Old Street roundabout project moves into final phase
Problem is, I don’t think the solution is to tell people over and over again that they have to vote when we get results like this: I think they need to actually see the difference they’ve made by voting.
And for everyone who voted Green (and for that matter Lib Dem), first past the post hasn’t delivered that.
Proportional representation in 2014 would have delivered 11 Green councillors in Hackney – 11 more than we actually got.
And for those worried that PR would allow fringe or extremist parties to get a foothold, all the other seats would have gone to the three main parties.
The local government secretary is just days into his new job, and I believe he has his work cut out for him.
Our local voting system isn’t fit for purpose: he must look into bringing in PR for councils before 2022.
The electorate deserves it.